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Energy

After Investing Billions, Is Illinois Grid Modernization Paying Off For Utilities And Customers?

Illinois has invested billions in electricity grid infrastructure, and now ranks 2nd nationally on grid modernization, but are these bulky efforts actually paying off nearly six years into the state’s initiative? State utilities have markedly improved reliability and operational efficiency through innovative smart grid technologies, but Illinois’ ambitious goal of adding more than 4 gigawatts (GW) of new wind and solar requires more than a modern grid - it requires more flexibility from customers.Fortunately, realistic policy solutions are within reach.

Green jobs are essential to Wisconsin's future

Throughout 2017, Wisconsinites kept hearing an old argument: jobs versus the environment. We must choose, we are told, between a healthy environment and a strong economy. Nonsense.In fact, during this age of global warming, one of the best ways to build a robust economy is to protect the environment and promote clean energy. And ignoring the effects of climate change hurts our economy. According to the group Clean Jobs Midwest, Wisconsin ranks dead last among Midwestern states in its percentage of clean-energy jobs — 0.85 percent, compared to an average of 1.8 percent.

Michigan study reveals opinions on wind turbines

The Midland County Board of Commissioners had the opportunity this week to receive unbiased information regarding wind turbines. At its regularly scheduled meeting, the board welcomed Sarah Mills, who presented the "Pros and Cons of Wind farms." Funded by the C.S.

State's solar energy program adds back grants

Grants for solar energy manufacturing and arrays are being offered again in Pennsylvania. The Wolf administration announced this week that it had added back grants to the Solar Energy Program, which is designed to help finance solar energy projects and manufacturing in the state. The program is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and the Commonwealth Financing Authority.

UNH Research Finds Wood Pellets Outperform Fossil Fuels, Natural Gas in Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Using wood pellets for home heating fuel reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than half over fossil fuels and natural gas, according to new research from the NH Agricultural Experiment Station at the University of New Hampshire. “Wood pellet heat is a new and growing heating alternative in the U.S. and has been proposed as a climate-beneficial energy source to replace fossil fuels. However, little work has been done to assess this claim,” the researchers said.

UW Study Points to RFS Carbon Emissions from Land use Change

A new University of Wisconsin-Madison study says cropland expansion in the United States as a result of the Renewable Fuel Standard, led to expanded carbon emissions from 2008 to 2012, resulting in about 115 million tons of releases. The study points the finger at the expansion of biofuels production leading to an expansion of cropland between 2008 and 2012, as the driver behind those emissions."Consequently, emissions from clearing land to accommodate biofuel production could significantly undermine the carbon savings that biofuels seek to attain

China’s New Nationwide E10 Ethanol Mandate and Its Global Implications

In September 2017, the Chinese government announced a new nationwide ethanol mandate (NEA 2017) that expands the mandatory use of E10 fuel (gasoline containing 10 percent ethanol) from 11 trial provinces to the entire country by 2020. This measure would require ethanol consumption in China, the largest motor vehicle market in the world, to at least quadruple within the next three years. For US producers, this recent development fuels interest in whether China is going to import ethanol and/or corn (the main feedstock for ethanol production in China) to meet the mandate.

Efficient Environmental Regulation in the Unconventional Oil Industry

US oil production has skyrocketed since 2007. Technological advances in oil and gas drilling (commonly referred to as ‘fracking’) have allowed producers to access vast petroleum reserves that were previously too costly to recover. The growth in oil and gas production from unconventional sources has been tremendous, so that unconventional sources now make up more than 50 percent of total US petroleum production (EIA 2015). While this represents a boost to job growth and the broader economy, growth in the oil industry comes with its fair share of problems.

World’s cheapest solar power to be generated in Mexico

The clean energy projects recently approved by Mexico will be online and selling power by 2020. These projects and others are important steps towards meeting Mexico’s goals under the Paris agreement as well as regional goals established by Mexico, the United States, and Canada. In 2016, all three countries pledged to source 50 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025. Canada is on track to meet this goal while Mexico continues to build up its renewable portfolio.

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